Black lives matter. Today, I am writing to embrace our Black and Brown community members and to express our love and solidarity in this time of anguish.
A Message from Dean Tye Jackson
Black lives matter.
Today, I am writing to embrace our Black and Brown community members and to express our love and solidarity in this time of anguish.
Like so many of you, I am pained by what seems like a constant heartbreak. Right now, it’s from George, Breonna, and Ahmaud – whose innocent lives were robbed from us. Before, it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. Before them, it was Trayvon, Tamir, and Freddy. So many others – names we know and names we don’t. We cannot normalize this pain.
The events of the past couple of weeks have been a culmination of hundreds of years of pain and suffering of a people who have been fighting simply for equality, yet history continues to repeat itself. We are in a perpetual state of grieving and despair, not because the aforementioned were victims of “senseless” and yet “conscious” killings, but by those who were motivated by the color of one’s skin.
During this time, I find solace and hope in the words of esteemed Black novelist, poet, and activist James Baldwin who eloquently stated, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Social change is enacted when a society mobilizes.
The road will not be easy. It will be uncomfortable, but anything worth having is worth fighting for. I ask that you continue to look inwards, respect each other, and last but not least, educate yourself and others.
“Ignorance allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have,” James Baldwin expressed.
I believe in the power of us, activists of change, that we are stronger together. Together, we can achieve justice, exercise compassion, and dismantle systemic racism, because all lives cannot matter, until Black lives do.
WHAT WE CAN DO AS EDUCATORS
Many people, including students, are deeply hurt by the events in the past couple of weeks. Students will be coming to classes having had visceral responses to these events. We will need to dig even deeper into these conversations in a virtual environment. It is vital to be mindful of this current situation and ongoing reactions of your students, especially black students. As educators, we must frequently check in with ourselves and our students to ensure that we are creating a safe space for our fellow educators and students of color. Students may exhibit a range of emotions from being angered to being withdrawn. It may manifest in their performance on individual assignments to team projects. Please check-in with students frequently. Listening is a start, but action is what is needed now. Now is the time to ignite an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation within the CBE for our students, faculty, and staff to engage with issues of racial justice.
WHAT WE CAN DO AS CITIZENS & ALLIES
Being on the front lines of these protests has been pivotal in inspiring positive change. Unfortunately, for those with disabilities and/or chronic illness, currently in quarantine, or essential workers, it may not be possible to attend demonstrations in person. If you're unable to stand or walk outdoors for hours, feel unsafe in large crowds, or can't take off work or school, there are tons of other ways to learn, to engage, and stop racial injustice.
Please find below some articles about this topic.
You can support and contribute to organizations working to bring about an end to racism and injustice.
Finally, in the time it took to read this lengthy message was less than the time George Floyd suffered before his death.